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Art Appreciation

May 31 2006 Art Appreciation Newsletter

Discovery of a lost Leonardo da Vinci painting

I believe this to be an accurate account of a fascinating story.
Thirty years ago, a Dutch couple visited an art gallery in London and purchased a painting for the sum of $1,500. The subject of the work of art was two children kissing. This painting would later be known as "The Holy Infants." Not only was the subject most endearing, but when the paper backing was removed, the name "Leonardo da Vinci" was revealed.
This was truly a find beyond their wildest dreams. They had the painting cleaned by an art conservationist so as to better examine and authenticate the piece.

The painting was placed in storage for thirty years, and only now was the story made public by the man and his nephew. It was brought before expects to scientifically prove whether the painting was indeed painted by the great master himself or a fake. Most skeptics would see the sheer improbability of a painting by Leonardo to be discovered after 500 years. Where is the provenance? Let’s hear what the experts had to say.

The first test was the analysis of the paint. The pigment was examined through a microscope and it was determined that it was used by artists during the time of Leonardo. Next, a section from the wood frame was removed and carbon dated. It was determined to be from the 16th century, the time of Leonardo. The next test, fingerprint analysis is modern and controversial even though it has a high degree of accuracy. A fingerprint was located on the painting and compared to a fingerprint removed from a sketch of Leonardo’s "Last Supper." A match was found. These three tests proved scientifically that the painting may well be from the workshop of Leonardo, but it doesn’t prove that it was executed by his hand, and not one of his students.

Alas, yet another mystery surrounding Leonardo da Vinci and his code.
Buy Posters Here From Here's the latest article from the Art Appreciation site at

Artists as Voyeurs : From Giorgione to Hockney
As a followup to my article on artists painting the nude, I discuss how some of them seem to become voyeurs and draw us unknowingly into their world.

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Camille Gizzarelli, Art Appreciation Editor

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